The objective of this document is that the scientific community can plan their work with greater predictability.
The State Research Agency (AEI) has published for the first time a calendar with the dates of opening and resolution of calls for 2019 and 2020, years of validity of the current State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2017-2020. This document responds to a demand from the Spanish scientific-technical community.
This calendar will provide certainty to the scientific community when it comes to planning their research and expresses the vocation of service and the commitment of the AEI with transparency in the procedures of management and financing of science.
The anticipation of opening and resolution of the calls is presented with monthly detail to facilitate the work of the Spanish researchers: dates, processes of processing, evaluation, allegation, decision and provisional and final results.
In the case of the calls that will be published in 2019, the same budgets of 2018 (carried over) are in force. Although this indicates that the funds of the calls will be essentially the same as last year, the AEI works to increase them. Likewise, the Agency is in the process of improving its efficiency, which in the medium term will result in a reduction in the time needed to resolve the calls. The objective of the Agency is to ensure that the calls that continue in the next State Plan, which will continue to have calls for research projects – similar to those of Knowledge Generation and Research Challenges – and human resource contracts, maintain the planning that is presented in this calendar.
Justification of the calendar
The planning of the calls for the AEI has been made taking into account that in the first half of the year there are usually no suitable budget conditions to publish calls that commit high funds. In 2018, calls for projects and human resources have already opened their application deadlines after the summer and on dates very close to those now announced, sufficiently separated from each other so that these two types of calls do not overlap in the different processes that go from the opening to the resolution of them. Therefore, these dates can be considered stable. In the first half of the year, once the new accounting year is open, calls for applications that involve a small number of requests and that involve fewer resources are scheduled.
The intention of the AEI is to prevent projects from starting months before the concession resolution. In this way, the gap between concession resolution and start date will gradually be reduced: in the 2018 project calls, the projects started in January 2019 – traditionally, January was the start date of the research projects-, eight months before the concession resolution (it is expected to be resolved in August); in the 2019 calls, the projects will begin in June 2020, two months before the concession resolution; and already in the 2020 call, the projects will begin in September 2021, immediately after the concession resolution. This is the expected date to maintain successive stability at the start date of the projects. The AEI will facilitate the granting of extensions of the research projects until the mentioned lag can be corrected. In the 2020 call, once the stability of the opening, resolution and start dates has been reached, the granting of extensions to the projects will become exceptional and only for scientific-technical reasons.
The aid of the AEI is regulated by the General Law of Subsidies of 2003, which does not contemplate the specificities of the scientific activity. This Law establishes that the resolution period is six months, extendable. If the resolution is delayed, but the term is not extended, the requests could be considered dismissed due to administrative silence after six months. In order to protect, with all the guarantees within its reach, the rights of the applicants and to comply with current legislation, the AEI will continue to publish resolutions to extend the term. This does not mean that the extended term will be exhausted or that the expected resolution date announced in this document will be delayed.
Finally, there are several factors that can improve the efficiency of the AEI and accelerate the resolution of calls: changes in the regulations that apply to calls, for which the study phase has already begun; a new generation of management IT applications, with the needs identified and the implementation process approaching; and rationalization of the number and type of calls.